Genesis 49

Jacob Blesses His Sons

   Jacob called his sons together and said:
   My sons, I am Jacob,
      your father Israel.
2 Come, gather around,
      as I tell your future.
3 Reuben, you are my oldest,
   born at the peak of my powers;
      you were an honored leader.
4 Uncontrollable as a flood,
   you slept with my wife
      and disgraced my bed.
   And so you no longer deserve
      the place of honor.

5 Simeon and Levi,
   you are brothers,
      each a gruesome sword.
6 I never want to take part
      in your plans or deeds.
   You slaughtered people
      in your anger,
   and you crippled cattle
      for no reason.
7 Now I place a curse on you
   because of
      your fierce anger.
   Your descendants
   will be scattered
      among the tribes of Israel.

8 Judah, you will be praised
      by your brothers;
   they will bow down to you,
      as you defeat your enemies.
9 My son, you are a lion
      ready to eat your victim!
   You are terribly fierce;
      no one will bother you.
10 You will have power and rule
     until nations obey you
     and come bringing gifts.
11 You will tie your donkey
         to a choice grapevine
      and wash your clothes
         in wine from those grapes.
12 Your eyes are darker than wine,
         your teeth whiter than milk.
13 Zebulun, you will settle
         along the seashore
      and provide safe harbors
         as far north as Sidon.

14 Issachar, you are a strong donkey
         resting in the meadows.
15 You found them so pleasant
      that you worked too hard
         and became a slave.

16 Dan, you are the tribe
      that will bring justice
         to Israel.
17 You are a snake that bites
      the heel of a horse,
         making its rider fall.

18 Our Lord, I am waiting
         for you to save us.
19 Gad, you will be attacked,
         then attack your attackers.

20 Asher, you will eat food
         fancy enough for a king.

21 Naphtali, you are a wild deer
         with lovely fawns.
22 Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
      growing near a stream
         and climbing a wall.
23 Enemies attacked with arrows,
         refusing to show mercy.
24 But you stood your ground,
         swiftly shooting back
      with the help of Jacob’s God,
         the All-Powerful One—
      his name is the Shepherd,
         Israel’s mighty rock.
25 Your help came from the God
      your father worshiped,
         from God All-Powerful.
      God will bless you with rain
         and streams from the earth;
      he will bless you
         with many descendants.
26 My son, the blessings I give
      are better than the promise
         of ancient mountains
         or eternal hills.
      Joseph, I pray these blessings
         will come to you,
      because you are the leader
         of your brothers.

27 Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
      destroying your enemies
         morning and evening.

   28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.

Jacob's Death

   29 Jacob told his sons:
        Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32 Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.
   33 When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.


The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary